Since 1969 GAP has grown from a single retail store to the largest specialty fashion retailer in the US with seven major brands (Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Athleta, Intermix, Hill City, Janie and Jack). GAP's main goal was to improve operational efficiency by reducing the number of manual touches in their DCs. They have invested in highly automated case handling technology over the past eight years in their fulfillment centers in Fishkill (US), Fresno (US), Gallatin (US), Groveport (US) and Brampton (CAN).
REDUCE OPERATIONAL COSTS eliminating manual touches prior to picking (One-Touch Receiving) helps to reduce costs and to improve process speed and quality
LESS RELIANCE ON LABOR the ability to find enough operators for the fulfillment centers is the biggest issue. By implementing a solution for case handling that utilizes a high degree of automation, allows the inbound process to function efficiently without disruptions (also during peaks)
Founded in 1969, GAP Inc. has grown to a global leading retailer offering apparel, accessories, and personal care products for men, women, and children. The GAP brands include Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Athleta, Intermix, Hill City, and Janie and Jack. In 2019 the company generated revenues in excess of 16,383 Million USD and employed over 129,000 people. Gap is operating in 90 countries worldwide through over 3,345 company-operated stores, almost 574 franchise stores, and e-commerce sites.
GAP's distribution network is based on decentralized DCs (nine in the US, one in Canada) for retail and e-commerce orders in North America. In the past, processes were manual and the fashion retailer needed to improve operational efficiency.
Their inbound and storage process showed a high potential for optimization. Therefore they decided to invest in a highly automated solution, where they could eliminate seven touches compared to their manual process. The inbound process now only needs the operator to unload the product from the trailer before it is picked for customer orders. GAP was able to set a milestone in operational performance with this solution and has already upgraded seven of their DCs in North America.
The standardized inbound and storage system 'One-Touch Receiving' is integral to the goods receiving process. Vendor cartons are unloaded from the trailer, passed through a quality check automatically and are then stored in a mini-load system based on high-performance cranes which are 36 ft tall.
The mini-load system supplies a unit sorter, which sorts the required items into the shipping cartons. Any source carton, that still contains products, is returned to a temporary storage buffer which is based on shuttles, that handle these residual cartons.
The completed shipping cartons are conveyed to the correct dock door locations, where they are loaded onto trucks for delivery.
By implementing 'One-Touch Receiving' for their goods receiving process, GAP was able to increase efficiency with an ROI of less than two years. GAP could eliminate seven of eight manual touches with this solution: The cartons are unloaded from the truck and directly placed on an extendable conveyor belt. The fully automatic process then starts with quality inspection (weight, volume, carton contour) and scanning. After being received in the system, the delivery quantity is compared with the order quantity, and after a conformity check it is stored in a mini-load system.